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Madness, mayhem, anorexia

Monday 6th July, cool grey and showery.

Madness and misery in my bedside reading. I've just reached the home straight of Proust again, Time Regained, and Marcel's jaded view on life is getting me down. Every friend betrays him, everyone turns out to be venal, treacherous, secretly homosexual or all three. The "secretly homosexual" issue has to be a big part of the problem, but Marcel's thesis that: when homosexuality is outlawed, only nasty or feeble-minded perverts persist, all the normal people who happen to be gay/lesbian just make do with straight sex is getting me down too. . . And then it's back to Gravity's Rainbow, paranoia goes mad in wartime Europe; more grim loony tunes. And if I decide to skip GR, I revert to The Tale Of Genji, despairing anorexic women with limbs like wet spaghetti, creeping around in gloom, getting institutionally raped. I've thought of replacing Gravity's Rainbow with Memoires De L'Outre Tombe, but Francois Rene de Chateaubriand can be a bit of a miserable nutcase himself. . . I need a new direction, but I can't bear to let go. I started reading those three majestic tomes in rotation about twenty years ago.

Trapped by my own traditions, I've probably reached the age I've heard about, where people no longer find the cruel edge of reality intensely satisfying, instead they just do not want to hear the bad news.

To London last week, last minute draftee (Iain Banks had to drop out) to a panel on Science Fiction, at the World Conference of Science Journalists, Central Hall. Nice to see Geoff and Paul, briefly, nice to visit the grand old Methodist Party Central, home of a famous conference of Futuristic Utopians in the Bold As Love story; and an amazingly well-attended panel. NB, it was not science fiction about global warming, drowning cities or anything like that. It was rocketship fantasies, with a small side-order on human cloning. Human cloning always gets people going & I can't understand why. It's just a form of IVF, the DNA is not the person & if you think it can be banned, should the shrinking knowledge gap be bridged, and should there be a market for the product, you are living in a dreamworld. Anyway, it was fun to be in London in the heat, crossing the vasty halls of Canary Wharf, seeing all the Londoners set their teeth as Tube Girl advised them, once more, to carry a bottle of water.

If she had a neck, that girl would be SO strangled.

Maybe I'll be less grumpy tomorrow. Did I mention the hayfever? First year I've ever suffered full blown hayfever, it goes on forever and I don't like it.

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